NANANGO’S Owen Stewart has reached the “holy grail” of karate.
After six years of training with the Mugen Gissen Karate Do in Nanango, Stewart earned his black belt on Saturday.
Mugen Gissen instructor Sensei Kathryn Stockwin said it was an awesome feat.
“When you first start doing karate, you work through the lower ranks and the black belt is like the holy grail,” she said.
Stewart was one of the club’s first students, and after training with them for six years, has claimed the club’s first black belt.
Stewart, in his late 50s, went through 33 sessions of two-minute rounds of sparring throughout the day.
“All of the other instructors were impressed by his fitness,” Stockwin said.
He displayed just short of 70 different combinations and 10 different patterns.
“It’s a really big achievement and at the end of the day, it’s the work they put in,” she said.
Stockwin said Stewart had put in many hours of hard work during training and at home to reach this achievement.
“As an instructor it was just a great day, you put in all of this effort in teaching and helping people and then you get to see them reach their goal,” she said.
Stewart was one of five Nanango martial arts students, as young as eight years old, who earned their various gradings at the karate day held at the Nanango school hall.
The Nanango group were joined by students from the Kingaroy Shotokan Club and Darling Downs Goju Martial Arts Academy.
“It’s really nice to make an environment for clubs from different areas to come and train with us,” Stockwin said.
Students got the chance to take on new opponents.
“They had to think on their feet — it tests them and they really enjoy that challenge,” Stockwin said.